Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Raising a baby in Turkey - Part 1: It's getting hot in here. Take off those clothes. No, really.

Turks and Americans have some different ideas about raising babies. I thought I would share some. I'm going to be using sweeping generalizations, so please note that not ALL Americans and ALL Turks may be represented in my observations.

Turks believe that being cold, slightly chilly, or even barely warm will make you ill. Touching a cold wall will make you ill. Moving air will make you ill. If you eat ice cream in any month besides July or August you will probably die. You should not walk on exposed tiles in any weather at any time. They could be harboring a temperature below 90 degrees Fahrenheit and make you ill. I've also heard that stepping on an exposed tile floor will injure a woman's reproductive health, but I don't know how widely that is accepted.

Americans, on the other hand, believe in moving air. Oh, we love it. Especially people from Phoenix. We move our air around as much as possible. We set up fans upon fans upon fans strategically placed near air conditioning vents to accelerate already moving, cold air to make it faster and colder. We hate stagnant air, closed windows, and heat in general. Just move that air, baby. We also love, love, love cold tile. It keeps us cool, after all. We don't cover it up. We don't place a barrier between it and our feet. We lie down on it and roll around on it and generally try to transfer our body heat to it and other cool things.  All of these things are considered insanity for Turks, ways to insure a quick and sudden death.

In Turkey, sweat is bad because if air moves across it, YOU MIGHT COOL DOWN! Americans (at least in Phoenix) soak ourselves in water and then sit in front of moving air, preferably cold moving air. You get the idea.

So, Turks believe that babies should be wrapped in blankets. Lots of blankets. Fleece blankets. With hats. And socks. And multiple layers of clothing. In the summer. Or winter. Doesn't matter, really. Americans believe that babies should be kept as cool as possible without being freezing cold. Americans believe that being too warm can cause health problems, contribute to SIDS and just in general be very, very bad for babies.

This clash can cause problems for the American (and British person, I've heard) raising their baby in Turkey. Both groups are trying to do what's right, but the understanding of what's right are very, very different. Thankfully, doctors in Turkey are increasingly trying to educate people on the dangers of keeping babies too warm, so I've just been able to say, "The doctor said to keep the baby cool." Thank you, doctor, for saying that.

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